Sunday, January 29, 2023

Celtic Reaches Agreement For This Canadian Defender: Replacement For Juranovic?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

According to transfer pundit Fabrizio Romano, Celtic have reached an agreement with Montreal for Alistair Johnston. The right fullback is currently representing Canada in the FIFA World Cup, but a move to Glasgow could take place once the campaign is over.

The 24-year-old defender spent his college years representing St. John’s Red Storm and Wake Forest. While in college, he played for League1 Ontario side Vaughan Azzurri from 2015 to 2019. He earned a spot in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft and was selected by Nashville SC in January 2020. Johnston plied his trade at Montreal a year later for a fee of around £800,000, but he might be on the move once more amid interest from the champions of Scotland.

Predominantly a right-back, the Les Rouges international was deployed as a right-sided centre-half against Belgium in their opening encounter. Although they ended up losing 1-0,  Johnston, as well as his teammates, delivered an aggressive and resilient performance on Wednesday night. His ceiling is quite high and the Celts, therefore, must secure his services amid uncertainties over Josip Juranovic’s future.

Alistair Johnston

Why Celtic Should Rope In Johnston

Juranovic started for Croatia in their stalemate against Morocco and gaffer Ange Postecoglou is expecting winter bids for the 27-year-old with Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea keeping close eyes on his contract situation at Parkhead. The extension talks did not materialize and the reluctant Bhoys had no option but to explore the market to find an able alternative.

Johnston recently opened up on his future as he is keen to test himself at a higher level.

“I am really happy at Montreal and we have a great thing going, but at the same time I want to test myself, and I want to see how high I can go. That’s something that for all athletes deep down is in our DNA.”

Meanwhile, Postecoglou should bank on Anthony Ralson in the absence of Juranovic. The Scotsman resurrected his career following the arrival of their Aussie chief and has often been rotated with the Croatian thanks to his relentless overlapping runs, crosses and cut insides down the right-hand flank. Having said that, the academy prodigy needs competition given their fixture congestion and Celtic, shrewd in the market over the past few windows, must depict their transfer supremacy once more.

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